Mary Klein had no known connection to the pear, but one evening after a long period of "painters block" she suddenly created a piece with three pears. There wasn't much thought involved in the selection of this image, but painting pears seemed comforting to her.
People began to ask why she continually painted pears and she simply answered, "I don't know, I just like painting them, I can't stop, it gives me energy and peace to paint them, they have such personality - each one a little different - they're amusing, entertaining, cute, sexy."
One day a friend of Mary's made the observation that a pear actually resembles the human heart much more than the traditional Valentine version. This was a revelation to Mary, especially since she herself grew up with heart problems.
Several years later, Mary met a woman who asked the question of her occupation. Mary usually gave the generic answer, "I am an artist," but for some reason instead said, "I paint pears." The woman found it strange, because just the day before a best friend brought her three pears. The heart connection only became stronger when Mary found out that this woman too had severe heart complications.
"I have endured three open heart surgeries," says Mary. "The pears were my hearts - my three hearts, my three chances at life. It made sense that I repeated this image, it was my symbol for life. If I don't paint pears for a couple of weeks I get tired, irritated, off balance. It enlivens me to paint pears."